David Wilson, owner of Wilson Automotive Group, has been announced as the fourth annual F&I Dealer of the Year.

Wilson was named F&I Dealer of the Year in a press conference at the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association in Las Vegas. The awarded is presented annually by F&I Management and Technology Magazine.

David Wilson’s Automotive Group has its roots in Orange County, Calif. In 1985 owner David Wilson bought Toyota of Orange in the city of Orange, Calif., the first of his 12 dealerships. All 12 Wilson Automotive Group dealerships are located in California and Arizona. Wilson sells Acura,

Ford, and Honda cars as well as Toyotas.

The Wilson Automotive Group expanded eastward in 1998 when it opened a Honda dealership in Scottsdale, Ariz. The company then added a Toyota location in Arizona in 1999.

Wilson's South Bay Toyota, in Gardena, Calif., ranked #26 on F&I Magazine’s list of

the top F&I dealerships in the United States for 2003. He also placed four other dealerships in the Top 100: Toyota of Riverside, in Riverside, Calif., Toyota of Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Right Toyota in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and South Coast Ford/Toyota, Costa Mesa, Calif.

The 12 dealerships run by David Wilson’s Automotive Group together sell more than 42,000 new and used cars annually, and in 2002 had a combined revenue $1,093 million. The group has more than a thousand employees.

Wilson Automotive Group dealerships have 81 percent control in their finance departments. In other words, they handle financing for four out of five of their customers.

David Wilson is a Dealer Member of the California New Motor Vehicle Board, and has served on the Board since February 2000. He is the vice president and is a member of the Board's Executive Committee.

Wilson, a 1970 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, has been involved in the automobile business for over 30 years. He is the past president of the Southern California Toyota Dealers Advertising Association. He has been a member of NADA and the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) for the past 15 years, and has served on the National Board of Directors of AIADA.

Wilson was the recipient in 1988 of the "Dealer of Distinction Award" from Sports Illustrated magazine and received the Time magazine "Quality Dealer

Award" in 1991.

A former Boy Scout, David serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and is the chairman of its annual golf tournament which raises in excess of $100,000 annually for scouting.

He was appointed to the California New Motor Vehicle Board by Governor Gray Davis in February 2000, and reappointed on May 1, 2003. He will be a member of the board until January of 2007.

F&I Magazine wishes to sincerely thank Life of the South and Go Big! Software for their generous sponsorship of this award,” said Steve Elliott, executive editor of F&I. Bob Miller, vice president of Life of the South, and Eddie Brooks, president of Go Big! Software, presented the award at the press conference.

The award, which recognizes excellence in the dealership finance and insurance office, is co-sponsored by Life of the South and Go Big! Software.

According to CEO Edward J. Bobit, the purpose of the F&I Dealer of the Year Award is to recognize dealer principals who practice professionalism in the development of an extraordinary F&I department. “Winning F&I departments show high numbers for both customer satisfaction and for per-unit F&I profits,” Bobit said.

The first year’s award went to David Conant, dealer principal of Norm Reeves Honda in Cerritos, Calif. Ron Tonkin Chevrolet of Portland, Ore., took home the second annual award. Ron, Ed and Brad Tonkin accepted the second annual award on behalf of Tonkin Family of Dealerships. The third annual award was won by David Ferraez, whose Ferraez Auto Group placed an incredible four dealerships in last year's F&I Top 100: #3 Green Brook Pontiac-Buick-GMC, Green Brook, N.J; #11 Northshore Buick-Pontiac-GMC, Malden, Mass.; #16 Woburn Buick-Pontiac-GMC, Woburn, Mass.; and #20 Danvers Chevrolet-Buick-Pontiac, Danvers, Mass.

Marks of a Winner

“Winning dealerships demonstrate broad success in all phases of F&I, including successful training programs; by-the-book identification and selling techniques; respect for customers' legal and ethical rights; and supporting a profitable F&I department which maintains a high CSI level,” said Publisher David Gesualdo of F&I Management and Technology Magazine.

“All of our winners have shown the kind of commitment and dedication to excellence that we look to recognize each year in awarding F&I Dealer of the Year,” said Elliott. “We appreciate the opportunity to recognize a deserving dealership each year.”

About F&I Management and Technology Magazine

F&I Management and Technology reaches about 17,000 auto dealer principals and their F&I departments. It was founded in 1998 by Edward J. Bobit, and is one of 20 trade magazines produced by Bobit Publishing Co., based in Torrance, Calif.

For advertising opportunities, call David Gesualdo at (310) 533-2569 or e-mail [email protected]. For editorial information or with press releases, e-mail [email protected] or fax (310) 533-2503.

For more information on Bobit Publishing, visit www.bobit.com or call (310) 533-2400.